Research Resources provide us with an overview of current understanding, research questions and strategies that help to co-ordinate research and build partnerships across the heritage sector

Since the mid-1990s we have funded a suite of regional and thematic research frameworks which aid the coordination and prioritization of research across the historic environment sector. We have also funded project to develop a range of reference resources which are  used in all areas of basic and applied research, to identify, classify, compare sites or provide chronological sequencing.  They include a wide range of typologies, reference collections (physical and online), classifications, thesauri and works of syntheses. These cover a wide range of topics, such as archaeological and historic building objects, types and materials, as well as environmental science ecofacts.

The development of these is supported by Historic England’s Research Resources Strategy. 

External researchers can also make use of the Historic England Archive. The Historic England Archive is one of the largest publicly accessible archives in the UK. We hold over 12 million photographs, drawings and reports relating to the archaeology and architecture of England.  You can search over a million items using our Historic England Archive website and you can also search 95,000 oblique aerial photographs using the Britain from Above website. The Archive holds many items that are not yet searchable online, including full coverage of the country in aerial photographs and we provide an enquiry service to help you find out what we hold in your area of interest.

Our Archive and Reference Library, based in Swindon, Wiltshire, are open to the public. You can visit our Search Room and Library to do your research. We also have online resources, photographs, books and journals available to browse, and we're on hand to help.

We also provide support for sectorial research expertise:

  • We deliver training ourselves, through direct delivery and online or distance learning, and fund partners to deliver training to meet identified skills gaps and skills shortages. We also fund and host placements to develop specialist skills in early career research staff.
  • We provide extensive free technical guidance on research methods and the curation of our collections via the websites of both Historic England and English Heritage.
  • We support and facilitate face-to-face professional meetings and online discussion groups covering specialist heritage expertise, for example the Historic Environment Record management community JISCmail list.
  • We provide specialist science advice to local authorities determining planning applications affecting archaeological sites and the archaeological units carrying out excavations.